Iran not seek tensions with Saudi Arabia: Spokesman

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Iran says it does not seek tensions with Saudi Arabia, even though it characterizes Riyadh's involvement in conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere a "strategic mistake".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Monday called on Saudi rulers to abandon their "bad behavior" and instead answer Iran's call for dialog and interaction.

"Our response to the bad behavior and improper remarks of Saudi authorities is that we do not want tensions," Qassemi told reporters during his weekly news briefing, adding Tehran is ready for dialog with Riyadh.

"However, dialog and understanding does not mean an endorsement of all the things governments and countries do. Either at the regional level or on the issue of Yemen and Iran, Saudi Arabia is involved in strategic mistakes."

Qassemi said Iran is hopeful that Saudi Arabia would be ready for dialog with Iran in "a fair environment".

“We hope they would realize their mistakes and create an atmosphere for understanding and negotiation through making up for their past mistakes,” he added.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have escalated since the kingdom executed a prominent Shia cleric in January 2016.

The execution triggered angry protests in many countries, including Iran. Protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

Saudi authorities have also become increasingly belligerent in their verbal attacks on Iran. Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman recently said, "We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia."

Relations between the two countries first soured after a deadly human crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, in September 2015, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims among others.



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